Born in Canada in 1960, David Rokeby has been creating interactive sound and video installations with computers since 1982. His early work Very Nervous System (1982-1991) is acknowledged as a pioneering work of interactive art, translating physical gestures into real-time interactive sound environments. Very Nervous System was presented at the Venice Biennale in 1986, and was awarded the ﬁrst Petro-Canada Award for Media Arts in 1988 and Austria's Prix Ars Electronica Award of Distinction for Interactive Art in 1991.
Several of his works have addressed issues of digital surveillance, including Watch (1995), Taken (2002), and Sorting Daemon (2003). Watched and Measured (2000) was awarded the ﬁrst BAFTA award for interactive art from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2000.
Other works engage in a critical examination of the differences between human and artiﬁcial intelligence. The Giver of Names (1991-) and n-cha(n)t (2001) are artiﬁcial subjective entities, provoked by objects or spoken words in their immediate environment to formulate sentences and speak them aloud.
David Rokeby's installations have been exhibited extensively in the Americas, Europe and Asia. He has been an invited speaker at events around the world, and has published two papers that are required reading in the new media arts faculties of many universities. In 2002, Rokeby was awarded a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, Canada's highest honour in visual art, the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica for Interactive Art (for n-cha(n)t) and represented Canada at the Venice Biennale of Architecture with Seen (2002). In 2004 he represented Canada at the São Paulo Bienal in Brazil. In 2007 he completed major art commissions for the Ontario Science Centre and the Daniel Langlois Foundation in Montréal.